Abilify (aripiprazole) is an atypical antipsychotic or psychotropic medication used to treat a number of mental disorders which has been shown to increase the risk of suicidal behaviors in children, adolescents and young adults. It may also increase the chance for risky behavior such as compulsive gambling, overspending and promiscuity.
Abilify’s manufacturer, Bristol-Myers Squibb is potentially facing hundreds or thousands of Abilify lawsuits for causing or contributing to compulsive gambling and other behaviors and for serious medical conditions such as stroke and diabetes which may be worsened by the medication.
Abilify oral medication may be used to treat:
- Schizophrenia in adults and adolescents over 13
- Acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes of Bipolar I disorder in adults and children over 10
- Add-on treatment for Major Depressive disorder in adults
- Irritability associated with Autistic disorder in children between 6 and 17
- Tourette’s Disorder in children between 6 and 18
Abilify intramuscular injection is used to treat:
- Agitation associated with bipolar mania or schizophrenia in adults
When used to treat depression, Abilify should be given in combination with antidepressant medications as part of a comprehensive treatment program which occasionally reassesses for the need to keep taking Abilify. When used for bipolar I disorder, Abilify should be given in combination with other anti-manic drugs. When IM dosing is required, the patient should be switched to oral equivalent as soon as possible.
Abilify Side Effects
Abilify may work in the brain to treat mental disorders through actions at dopamine and serotonin receptors. Abilify may also have some activity at norepinephrine receptors which may cause some of Abilify’s side effects.
Common side effects of Abilify:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Dizziness or drowsiness
- Blurry vision
- Lack of coordination
- Weight gain
More serious side effects of Abilify:
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Cerebrovascular events (stroke, transient ischemic attack)
- Metabolic changes like diabetes and thyroid disorder
- Changes in blood cell counts
- Cognitive and motor impairment
- Tardive dyskinesia
- Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
- Seizures or convulsions
- Inability to regulate body temperature
- Inability to swallow
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Compulsive behaviors like pathological gambling
Abilify Black Box Warning
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required that certain medications that affect neurotransmitters in the brain, including Abilify include a “black box warning” on all prescribing information. The boxed statement warning for Abilify states that use of Abilify may increase the chance for suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as the patient is adjusting to the medication or dosage changes.
It also warns of an increased risk of death in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis. These patients may also be at increased risk for cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Risk of death may be increased by inability to swallow which may result in choking or by causing tiredness which may cause caregivers to overlook symptoms of stroke.
Separately, Abilify may increase the chance of compulsive and risk-taking behaviors such as:
- Binge eating
- Excessive spending
- Other risky behavior
Abilify Lawsuit Claims
Bristol-Myers Squibb is facing hundreds of Abilify lawsuits filed by those who developed severe gambling problems and suffered serious consequences for the compulsive behavior caused by the medication. The medication has also been linked to other serious injuries including stroke and hyperglycemia or Type 2 diabetes.
Bristol-Myers Squibb has been accused of failure to warn the medical community and public about the dangers of Abilify. The company changed prescribing and consumer information in Europe and Canada but did not modify information inside of the U.S. until forced to do so by the FDA.
BMS has been accused of improperly marketing Abilify for unapproved or “off-label” uses. BMS has also been accused of paying physician kickbacks for prescribing Abilify and settled a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit by paying $530 million to the federal and a number of state government agencies.
BMS is facing around 2,000 Abilify lawsuits filed by people who have experienced serious side effects or who were injured by Abilify use. Federal Abilify lawsuits have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL-2734) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Patients are seeking compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damage.
Each case is unique and must be evaluated separately by an attorney.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.